New model of care offers new hope for endometriosis and pelvic pain sufferers

Mar 04, 2024

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A new specialist endometriosis and pelvic pain (EPP) clinic that will bring better care closer to home for women has been officially launched and endorsed by Assistant Health Minister Ged Kearney and Queensland Minister for Health and Women Shannon Fentiman.

Endometriosis Awareness Month and Endometriosis Awareness Week are both observed from 1 March each year to give visibility to the often unseen (and potentially untreated) impacts it has on the daily lives of those assigned female at birth who have it. Endometriosis is an incurable, inflammatory condition that can be debilitating, cause severe pelvic pain, affect fertility, and lead to a reduction in the quality of life and productivity for the one in nine Australian women affected.

Ahead of this occasion, Brisbane North PHN was pleased to join Assistant Minister for Health and Aged Care the Hon. Ged Kearney MP, and Queensland Minister for Health, Mental Health and Ambulance Services and Minister for Women the Hon. Shannon Fentiman MP to officially open Brisbane’s first specialist Endometriosis and Pelvic Pain (EPP) at Neighbourhood Medical in Bardon.

The clinic is one of two EPP clinics established in our region (including one dedicated to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander women) to provide better access to multi-disciplinary care in a general practice setting for the women and people assigned female at birth in our region who are disproportionately affected.

Approximately 17 per cent of the population assigned female at birth residing in North Brisbane and Moreton Bay have been diagnosed with endometriosis compared to 11 per cent of the total Australian female at birth population (data from Brisbane North PHN Women’s health snapshot). Women across Queensland also suffer at higher rates than the national average.

A Queensland Government study also recently revealed that, of equal concern, one in three women feel dismissed by healthcare professionals, commonly leading to misdiagnosis.

Dr Sarah McDonnell, GP and clinic Director of Neighbourhood Medical welcomed the provision of dedicated funding to establish the service and the opportunity it presents to provide specialised endometriosis care for women in collaboration with other healthcare providers.

General practice is the ideal home for person-centred, holistic care for any chronic disease requiring a coordinated team approach within the community.

Dr McDonnell

Neighbourhood Medical’s core value is listening to and validating each person’s story and priorities to create a personalised management plan utilising the full scope of the clinic’s resources.

Sarah and Aline are two brave clients who met with Assistant Minister Kerney and Minister Fentiman to share their lived experience.


Aline, who has been visiting the clinic for six months, said she was thankful for the support provided by the facility to her and other women with endometriosis. Aline was diagnosed with endometriosis after undertaking IVF, having suffered with pain for many years and being told it was normal with a period.

"I now know this was not the case,” Aline (pictured, centre, wearing yellow with her Prosthetic's Team colleagues at Brisbane's Princess Alexandra Hospital celebrating Endometriosis Awareness Month) said.

Since visiting the clinic and undertaking tailored physiotherapy and nutrition sessions as part of its service offering, Aline is experiencing an improvement in her pain and hopes her story will inspire other women with pain to visit an EPP clinic to receive the care they need.

“Too many women suffer because their pain is not taken seriously,” said the Assistant Minister while touring the facility.

"It is wonderful to have doctors like Dr McDonnell here, who have specialty in this area and who can provide a safe space like Neighbourhood Medical where women can come, where they will be heard, where they will be believed, and where they can actually get treatment for what is a terrible condition," Ms Kearney said.

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Pictured L to R: Neighbourhood Medical Director and GP | Dr Sarah McDonnell, Brisbane North PHN CEO | Libby Dunstan, Aline Machin, Assistant Minister for Health and Aged Care | the Hon. Ged Kearney MP, Sarah Eddy, Queensland Minister for Health, Mental Health and Ambulance Services and Minister for Women | Shannon Fentiman MP, Neighbourhood Medical GP | Dr Louisa Gilles, Neighbourhood Medical RN | Shea Inglis.

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